Which Social Media Should I Put My Efforts into for My Business?

Due to issues with privacy and security, Google+ is shutting down in April of 2019.

On November 6, 2018, Google+ users were faced with the exposure of their private profile content. Alphabet Inc, Google’s mother company, revealed that a bug allowed 52 million users’ private information to be compromised and given to outside app developers without the users’ consent.

“Protecting the privacy and security of our users has long been an essential part of our mission,” says Google, Inc. CEO Sundar Pichai. Yet, in October of 2018, there was a similar breach of privacy which also provided outside app developers with Google+ users’ private information, including full names, email addresses, genders, birthdays, photos, places lived, relationship statuses, and occupations. It was after this glitch that Google initially announced the demise of Google+, which was to be terminated in August of 2019. Considering the second privacy violation, the date of termination was moved up four months to April 2019.

So, with all these major changes from Google, which platform(s) are most practical and provide the most security for your company?

Google My Business (GMB) is presumed to be the platform of choice for business owners. GMB is a free tool for businesses to supervise their online presence throughout Google, including Google Search and Google Maps. This platform allows customers to find your business’ location as well as inform them about your business, its hours, and contact information.

Within your GMB account, there is a section called Insights which offers new analytic features. Among these are queries used to find your business, customer actions like visiting your website, making phone calls, and direction requests. The platform also allows business owners to place ads, write posts, upload pictures, and update company information. Another aspect beneficial to business owners is that GMB allows for customers to leave a review of the company and compiles them in an easy-to-read list. These reviews can be responded to by the business owners.

Other Social Media You Should Use for Your Business

Social media is the basis of which most customers are going to learn more about your business. Many companies use various social media platforms to not only connect with their customers but to gain visibility throughout the internet as well. It is most beneficial to your company if you utilize multiple social media outlets to market your business. But which ones are worth it?

LinkedIn is the most professional social media platform and allows businesses to network with other people or companies and draw potential customers or clients to your business. On your company profile, you can share any awards bestowed, your accomplishments, and post in detail about current and past projects. In addition to these features, you can post and share articles, videos, and photos on your newsfeed with your network of connections and followers. You can even develop your own articles using LinkedIn Publishing. Another great aspect of LinkedIn that is ideal for business owners is the ability to list job openings and review applications from potential employees. LinkedIn is a one-stop-shop for all your social media, marketing, and business development needs.

Facebook has specific pages and profiles for companies and business professionals. These provide the business with analytics, ad opportunities, and the ability to post events and updates along with photos and videos. Keeping your clients and customers up to date on all that’s happening with your business has never been easier or more condensed into one outlet. Facebook Messenger also provides more interaction with customers. Messenger allows customers to directly message a business and discuss any questions or concerns they may have.

Instagram is perfect for sharing photos and videos from company events and posting promotional graphics to market your products or services. There is a business profile option which will allow you to connect your email address, phone number and website at the top of your Instagram page. Interaction with customers and clients is extremely simple with Instagram’s comments which, depending on your privacy settings, give anyone the ability to write a comment on a post.

Twitter is another great social media platform for businesses to post last minute updates to their followers about promotions, events, or cancelations due to weather. In addition to these updates, Twitter is also a great source to repost from Facebook and Instagram.

Not sure which social media platform is best for your business? Focus on what your company is providing to the public. If you have a lot of photographs to share with your customers, Instagram is a great option to allow your pictures to highlight your business. If your business hosts a lot of events, consider utilizing Facebook to create ads and invite customers to these events. Additionally, Twitter is great for making quick updates to schedules and keeping in contact with clients. If you still aren’t positive about what platform to use, start with one you are personally using. This way, you already have some experience with the platform and can utilize your prior knowledge to increase your business’ exposure.

You may find that you want to have presence on more than one social media network. Being present in multiple areas will increase your company’s visibility and help you reach more potential customers.

Managing Multiple Social Media Accounts

It may seem as if managing multiple social media accounts can become overwhelming. However, there is no need to fret. There are terrific software programs that help consolidate all your social media accounts in one space. Among these are Hootsuite and Buffer.

Hootsuite integrates multiple types of social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter into one interface. Other sites such as YouTube, LinkedIn, and WordPress blogs can be incorporated. If you have multiple businesses or organizations you manage, you may add these organizations along with all their respective social media accounts. Buffer is very similar. You can include multiple organizations as well, and each may have multiple social media accounts. Among those covered are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

These integrations are wonderful because they provide you with the ability to create a singular post and share it on all your social media platforms with just a few clicks. You can also schedule your posts to go out at a later date or time, even months in advance! Both Hootsuite and Buffer provide analytics and the ability to respond to all your comments within the same window.

When it comes to choosing which social media management software is best for your business, it is best to research each software to find one that fits your needs and budget. For further information please contact us at 1-855-PRMG-123 or email us at info@theprmg.com.

Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing

Sale Tag WreathThe most prosperous time of year is approaching: the fourth financial quarter and the holiday season. How can your business capitalize from the holiday rush? Start planning your holiday marketing efforts now! Use your business’ social media sites, online marketing, and public relations efforts to build a comprehensive holiday marketing plan. Continue reading “Start Planning Your Holiday Marketing”

Nine SEO Metrics and Terms that You Need to Understand

SEO Analysis

In today’s digital world, search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! have become powerful tools that play a large role in the success or failure of many companies. Ranking high in search engine results can help a business gain market share and strengthen their brand. When a business appears on the first page of search results for key terms, whether the consumer is actively searching for the business or not, it can directly result in leads and sales. The consumer will start to identify with the brand and build perceptions of the company just by seeing them at the top of the page. Having low results in search engine queries can hurt your business as much as good results can help. No matter the circumstances, all businesses should be on the first page for a certain term, such as their company or CEO’s name.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving a website so that it appears higher in search engine results. Improving such results can be a lengthy process that requires much effort. In order to improve results, one needs to pay close attention to key performance indicators associated with SEO. Tools such as Google Analytics allow developers of a website to track metrics vital to a website’s SEO success. However, none of these statistics will help if one does not truly understand them. Below are nine metrics and terms that one needs to know in order to improve their SEO: Continue reading “Nine SEO Metrics and Terms that You Need to Understand”

Top Five Reasons to Sign Up for Hootsuite

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For businesses and agencies that need to keep track of multiple social media accounts, Hootsuite is the ultimate dashboard for social media management. Rather than remembering multiple passwords and going to each site to make posts, Hootsuite allows users to manage all of their social media accounts from a central location with either a free or Pro account (paid).  Here are our top five benefits of managing social media accounts with Hootsuite. Continue reading “Top Five Reasons to Sign Up for Hootsuite”

Where Should a Small Business Spend its Marketing Money

marketing

Marketing is essential for the growth of any business. Even if you offer a top-notch product or service, without sufficient exposure, potential customers may never be aware of what your business has to offer. Unfortunately, many small businesses do not have a large budget to spend on comprehensive marketing campaigns. Costly forms of marketing can be very effective in attracting new customers, but if the budget isn’t there, businesses can take advantage of alternative methods. Fortunately, there are many ways to attract new customers without breaking the bank. Here are some tips on where you should be spending your money when dealing with a tight marketing budget. Continue reading “Where Should a Small Business Spend its Marketing Money”

Why Businesses Need to be on Google+

 googleplus

Google+ and your business

Businesses tend to think about Google+ as just another social network, similar to Facebook or Twitter.  While this is basically true, Google+’s influence extends beyond social networking, and ignoring its presence can cause your business to fall behind.

So what exactly makes Google+ so valuable to businesses?

Google+ is guaranteed to have an effect on your search engine ranking

Google+ users receive a bump in Google search engine ranking simply by keeping an active Google+ account, providing fresh content and engaging with other users. A number of studies, such as the one done by Search Metrics*, show a powerful correlation between search rankings and the number of Google +1’s (equivalent to Facebook’s “Like” button).

Simply put, +1s will create a followed link back to your post, causing organic link building, which is an important part of any SEO strategy. In addition, +1s indicate to Google that your website has been vouched for by a third party, giving you another boost in the search ranking process.

Continue reading “Why Businesses Need to be on Google+”

Using Google+ to Maximize Web Searching

googleplus

With over 343 million users, Google+ is rapidly changing the landscape of social media, web searching and search engine optimization (SEO). As Google continues to dominate the search engine market, Google+ profiles personalize search results through authorship and social searching techniques. By understanding how Google+ affects web searching through tools such as rel= “author” and Search plus Your World, you can use Google+ to become a leader in your industry and maximize your website’s potential.

Authorship: Rel=“author”
Web searchers use Google to find credible online sources. As a result, Google has emphasized authorship and given higher rankings to web authors with frequently updated, original content. With the rel=“author” tag, you can claim authorship of your content and build your own credibility by linking your Google+ profile to your website or blog posts in Google search results. If your website is properly tagged with rel=“author,” your name and Google+ profile picture will appear next to your website listing when it appears in Google’s search results. Through this, you put a name and a face to your website or blog posts, while also catching the attention of Google searchers. By clicking on your name or your picture, the user will be directed to your Google+ profile and have the option to “follow” you. Most importantly, rel=“author” establishes your credibility and if searchers have visited your website before or liked a post you have written, they are more likely to visit your site or blog again when they see your profile picture and name pop up next to the search entry. Depending on whether you are writing for your own blog, as part of a guest blog, or under a larger group, the ways in which to implement this authorship tag will differ.

Social Searching: Search plus Your World
Search plus Your World is a form of social searching that gives personalized results, based on the circles and contacts in your Google+ profile. Social searching incentivizes both businesses and individuals to remain active on Google+ and make as many connections as possible to maximize the possibility of placement in search results. For example, if you own an ice cream shop and are connected to Joe on Google+, then it is highly likely that your shop will appear in Joe’s Google search results for “ice cream shop.” Likewise, if your best friend, with whom you are connected on Google+, just posted pictures from her vacation to London on her profile, you may find her pictures popping up on Google if you do an image search for Big Ben or Buckingham Palace. Social searching levels the playing field of search engine optimization and places more emphasis on personal relationships than domain authority or other SEO techniques, so it is necessary to engage with followers on Google+ and continually develop new relationships to stay relevant. As of now, the Search plus Your World feature is strictly limited to Google+, and contacts from other social networks like Twitter and Facebook will not appear in the search results.

We predict that Google’s attempt to integrate social media with web searching will have an enormous impact on SEO and basic web searching. As Google continues to alter search algorithms to include social and personal features, it will focus on relationships through social media and increase the chances of appearing in search results without using other SEO strategies. Google may also tap into other social networks like Twitter and Facebook to develop even more personalized results. Overall, we recommend that you use Google+ to develop your online brand and credibility through authorship tags and forge new relationships through social searching to increase traffic to your website and blog posts.

If you have any questions or are interested in developing your social media and search engine optimization strategy, contact 1-855-PRMG-123 or info@theprmg.com.

Spotlight on Advertising: Google Ads Now Include Pictures

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If you are not already familiar with Google AdWords please read our Beginner’s Guide to Google AdWords to better understand the topic. 

On Wednesday June 5th, Google announced that it will begin to allow advertisers to add photos and pictures to AdWords campaigns.  The standard format, as viewed above, allows advertisers to target individuals who are already searching for specific products or services, and the ability to add a photo will only increase the effectiveness of these ads.

We know from our experience with social media that both ads and posts do substantially better when accompanied by images.  Not only do images increase the size of your advertisement, but they help your ads stand out.  High-quality images are engaging, and will help to expand the number of impressions that your online advertising campaign receives.

Use this advantage to strengthen your brand, by showing memorable visual content that you want immediately associated with your brand.  Previously, visual online advertising was limited to Google Display Network, which has a much more limited audience of websites that allowed Google ads to appear on them through Google’s AdSense program.

Essentially, Google AdWords allows for easily customizable and highly targeted ads that, if done right, will give you a good return on your investment. This option is currently in beta mode, and is not yet available to everyone. If you are interested in developing new online advertising campaigns, please contact 1-855-PRMG-123 or email at info@theprmg.com .

An In-Depth Look into Google AdWords

Google Adwords

Google AdWords is so unique and beloved by marketers because it gives businesses the ability to advertise to an audience that is already interested in the products or services they offer. Using Google AdWords, you are put in complete control of how much you want to spend, when you want your ads to appear and where you want them to appear. Through its various components and special features, Google AdWords allows you to better target potential customers and clients without wasting money in the process.

Google is made up of two components: The Search Network and The Display Network. This article will provide you with an overview of these two networks, the different types of ads available through AdWords and an overview of AdWords Express.

What is Google AdWords? — For a more beginner-friendly analysis of Google AdWords, read our article, “A Beginner’s Guide to Google AdWords.” In this article, we discussed the basics of one of Google’s most effective, simple and budget-friendly forms of Web advertising available today: Google AdWords. Through Google AdWords, you can create pay-per-click (PPC) ads that can target users based on their location and keywords that you can select through bidding for certain search phrases. You can also incorporate “Ad Extensions” to help users easily find out more about your business and its offerings. Ad extensions expand text ads with one or more lines that provide additional information such as an address, phone number, page links and product images. When users click on your ad, they will be directed either to your website or a landing page. For tips on creating successful landing pages, you can download our free guide, “Five Steps to Generating New Business through Web Advertising, Landing Pages and Emails.”

To begin using Google AdWords, you must first decide to use either the Search Network or Display Network. The next step is to decide on a format for your ad, depending on which network you choose.

Search Network — The Search Network on Google AdWords provides an excellent way to reach your target audience on their personal computers, tablets, mobile phones and any other electronic devices used to find information. The Search Network allows users to advertise within the Google search engine or with search partners who allow advertising on their websites. For example, AOL.com and Ask.com are two of Google’s popular search partners. Advertising on Google’s Search Network allows you to target users depending on what keywords they use in their search queries. Your ad will appear in the “sponsored links” section, above the main search results, or on the right side of the screen when someone searches on Google using one of your desired keywords. If you are unsure of what keywords will work best with your ad, you can try using the Google Keyword Tool. By entering one keyword or phrase into this tool, you can see what related word searches your ad will show up on. One thing to keep in mind is that, unlike on the Display Network, you can only run text ads on the Search Network.

  • WAP Mobile Ads — While more and more people use smart phones when searching for information about local businesses or services, Mobile Ads may be the right fit for your business. WAP mobile ads are a format of AdWords ads that appear on WAP mobile websites, and are available as either text or image ads. With Google Mobile Ads, you can connect with your customers on their mobile phones by reaching out to targeted audiences across top websites and apps. When mobile users click on your ad, they will be send to your mobile webpage. One question to ask is whether or not your website is optimized for mobile devices. To see how your site looks on a mobile device, you can use the “GoMoMeter” tool at howtogomo.com. This site will also provide you with recommendations for creating a mobile-friendly experience for your business’ website. To create a WAP mobile ad, simply sign in to your AdWords account, navigate to the “Ads” tab at the ad group level, click the “New ad” link and choose “WAP Mobile Ad.”

Display Network — Using the Google Display Network on Google AdWords, you can reach users from all over the Web and choose from text, image and video formats to communicate your message to highly targeted audiences. The Display Network gives users the opportunity to run their ads on a gigantic network of websites that have Google AdSense enabled. For example, your ad may appear on a blog, online newspaper or a website that is relevant to what products or services your business has to offer. The Display Network offers lower costs, easier ad approval and a variety of formats for your advertisements. With the Display Network, as well as with every Google AdWords campaign, it is essential to keep an eye on your budget to monitor your spending. Another tip is to run one ad campaign on the Display Network and a second campaign on the Search Network. This will help you determine which network is more appropriate and successful for your business.

  • Image Ads — Image ads are graphical ads that are available on Display Network websites. Image ads contain graphics that can be matched to a page’s content to ensure that they are reaching your selected target audience. You can run image ads in both keyword-targeted and placement-targeted campaigns. To learn how to create an image ad, simply sign in to your AdWords account, click the name of the desired campaign, choose the Display Network and begin creating your ad by following the simple instructions here.

  • Video Ads — On the Google Display Network, you can promote your business’ video ads on the websites where your customers are most likely to spend their time. These click-to-play (CTP) Video Ads provide a valuable and engaging experience for viewers without being too intrusive. Video ads should be visually appealing, interesting and no longer than 30 seconds. Google also offers the option to play video ads on YouTube, using the “Promoted Videos” feature. Based on a list of keywords, your video ad will come up when viewers search for, discover and watch videos on YouTube. For example, someone watching a video of a piano tutorial may be presented with an advertisement for your music classes. Advertising on YouTube, the Web’s video-sharing superpower, will help you reach more customers and boost your video’s view count. Best of all, you will only be charged when someone watches your video.

  • TV Ads — Using Google TV Ads, you can target audiences on more than 100 national television channels such as ESPN, TNT and CNN, with the potential of reaching up to 35 million U.S. households. To get started with Google TV Ads, you must already have an AdWords account. Next, you can set your budget to determine how much exposure your ads will receive and what your maximum cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM) will be. One thing to keep in mind is that there is no minimum budget requirement on Google TV Ads, but campaign budgets should be set strategically in order for ads to make the greatest impact with your audience. Next, you can target audiences by choosing to advertise on relevant programs, times of day or networks. The final step is to simply upload your ad and launch your campaign. If you already have a television ad, simply upload it with the AdWords tool. If not, you can use the Ad Creation Marketplace to make a new television commercial. After you’ve submitted your ad, Google will check to make sure that it complies with the technical specifications and policies of Google and its TV partners. If your ad has been approved, it will be ready to run on national television. Using the online functionality of Google TV Ads, you can track results, adjust your campaign and measure performance and ROI.

AdWords Express — The easiest way to kick off your Web advertising efforts is to take advantage of AdWords Express. Google’s new tool, AdWords Express, helps businesses promote themselves on Google Search, Google Maps and mobile devices. AdWords Express is the simplest way to advertise on Google. Creating your ad takes only a few minutes and then everything else is managed automatically by Google. After your ad campaign is running, it works just like the traditional AdWords tool. When people search in your area for the products or services that your business provides, your ad will appear above or beside their search results. Because of its simplicity and convenience, AdWords Express is perfect for local businesses that are looking to reach new customers but don’t have the time to manage an advertising campaign.

You may also be interested in tips on creating successful landing pages and emails. To learn more, please download our free guidebook, “Five Steps to Generating New Business Through Web Advertising, Landing Pages and Emails.” For more information about Google Adwords or other marketing tools, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com. You can also visit our blog for more valuable articles and advertising spotlights.

Google+ Opens its Doors to Businesses

Google+

After months of anticipation, Google has finally launched Google Plus Page for Business. Up until last week, Google+ has focused on connecting individual people. However, as of Monday, November 7, Google+ Pages are available worldwide for businesses, global brands, sports teams and celebrities. It is now easier than ever for businesses to connect with their audiences, encourage visitors to recommend their organization with a simple “+1” and send quick and customized updates to targeted groups of people. Also, since people search for local businesses using Google more than any other search engine, the launch of Google+ Pages will give business pages precedence and higher authority in Google search results.

This article will show you how to create a successful Google+ Page for your business. It will also explain how businesses can use features such as Circles, Hangouts, the +1 button, Direct Connect and how you can measure your Google+ performance.

Create a Google+ Page — To create a Google+ page for your business, organization or brand, click here. To complete your page, upload a profile picture and include a description of your organization, your hours, website and contact information. After you’ve completed your business page, be sure to notify other users by clicking “Spread the Word” to share your new page with the public and individual Circles on Google+. You can also share the link to your page on your other social media profiles and include the Google+ icon on your business’ website, blog and email signature.

Businesses can use these pages to share news, photos, videos and links with their audiences. Through the social interaction and networking capabilities available on Google+, businesses can also nourish relationships with customers, clients, potential customers, business connections and much more.

Circles — Google+ makes it simple to sort followers into groups called “Circles.” To add a person into one of these groups, simply drag them into a Circle. When you post text, photos, videos and links to your Google+ stream, you can select which circles to share the information with. Businesses may want to create unique Circles for customers in certain geographic areas, of different ages, industries, languages and more. Using this feature, businesses can then send relevant, customized messages to small, targeted audiences. For example, a restaurant may want to send a coupon on their children’s menu only to mothers in Nassau County. A bar can send a special offer to their “College Students” Circle to send this group a special offer for beer and wings. The Circles feature helps to address a major shortcoming of Facebook fan pages by providing a way for businesses to improve their reach, classification and targeting capabilities through social media.

One restriction to keep in mind is that, unlike with personal Google+ pages, business pages cannot add people to Circles until the page is added first or the user has mentioned the business in a post. Also, Business Pages cannot +1 other pages, nor can they +1 content on the Web.

Hangouts — This unique feature allows Google+ users to engage in live, face-to-face chats with multiple people at the same time. This is an excellent outlet for businesses to directly communicate with their audiences. This kind of personal interaction has never been possible on Facebook or Twitter. To begin, simply click “Start a Hangout” when you log in to your business page. Using your live webcam, you can start a video chat with those in your circles and send notifications to those who may be interested in joining your chat.

+1 Button —To click +1 on a business page, article, blog post, photo or any other form of content is to give it your stamp of approval. You can get the code to include the +1 button on your own website and blog here. Including the +1 button on your Web pages is so important because, according to Hubspot, websites using Google’s +1 button get three-and-a-half times more Google+ visits. Businesses should treat this button in the same manner as Facebook’s “Like” icon by encouraging people to +1 their page and also add it to their circles.

Direct Connect — Direct Connect is Google+’s newest feature. By going to Google and searching for “+” followed by the page you are interested in, you will be automatically directed to the business’ Google+ page. For example, if you search for “+Pepsi,” Direct Connect will allow you to quickly navigate to Pepsi’s Google+ Page. Another benefit for businesses is that, when users are directed to pages, they will also be prompted with the question, “Add this page to your circles?” This feature makes it easier than ever to connect with businesses through social networking.

Once you add the Google+ code to your website, you will be eligible to be included in Google Direct Connect. For now, Direct Connect only works with a limited number of pages, such as Pepsi and YouTube, but the service will eventually become available to all businesses.

Measure Your Performance — Google+ offers several tactics to measure how well your business page is performing. Several of these monitoring tools are the Google+ Search, Ripples and Social Analytics:

  • Google+ Search — Businesses should use the search bar on Google+ to search keywords, names, businesses and brands. This can help businesses monitor what is being said about their organization or industry on Google+, help resolve customer service issues and connect with customers and potential customers.
  • Ripples — The Ripples feature on Google+ lets you see who is sharing and resharing your content. For example, businesses can monitor who has shared their posts and connect with these users.
  • Social Analytics — Analytics measures +1s and how engagement on your site changes. You can also see demographic information about the users who have +1ed your site.

The exciting news is that Google+ is still adapting, with more changes soon to come. To learn more about Google+, read our article, “Google+’s Advanced Technology Addresses Facebook’s Shortcomings.” For more information, please contact The Public Relations and Marketing Group at (631) 207-1057 or johnzaher@theprmg.com.